TIGER Woods believes he will not be fit and healthy enough to return to tournament golf until at least 2016, stating his recovery is going to a “long and tedious process.”

Speaking in Mexico City at the Bridgestone America’s Golf Club (an event he was scheduled to play in with Matt Kuchar before announcing surgery five weeks ago), Woods said he was still “stiff” five weeks after his second microdiscectomy surgery to alleviate an impingement in a disc in his lower back.

“I feel good, I’m just stiff; that’s the way it is after surgery,” Woods said at the PGA Tour’s developmental tour event in Latin America. “I haven’t been allowed to do much of anything.

“I’ll start my rehab soon, but it’s a long and tedious process. The last time it took me a long time to come back. Some of the guys who have had it (microdiscectomy) done said it took them over a year to be pain free. I hope it doesn’t take me that long to be pain free.”

“First of all I need to be healthy. I tried to fight through some stuff this year and it wasn’t a lot of fun and I was in that much pain. On top of that, my first back operation, I was also in the midst of changing my swing, too. It was a tough situation to go through that.”